43°Overcast

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — January 10, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Is there anything the community can do to protect our trees from being removed by developers creating room for large new homes?

Answer: I’d like to dedicate more columns to this topic because it’s one of the most common questions I hear when talking to non-condo/townhome dwelling Arlingtonians and something I think needs more attention from the real estate community. I feel strongly that maintaining existing trees not only contributes to the long-term value of the neighborhood, but can actually maximize developer profits as well. To highlight how it can be financially beneficial to developers’ bottom line, I decided to use one of my favorite properties of 2016, 512 N. Littleton Street of Boulevard Manor, in my first video post.

512 N. Littleton StreetAs of the filming of the video, the property was under contract, but has since sold so I now have the benefit of knowing the final sold price. The developer, Ahmad Khreshi of Home Perfection Consulting, made an effort to keep as many trees as possible and the result was an incredibly profitable investment.

Here’s a summary of how well he did, with the biggest differentiating factors between his home and similar new construction being the maintenance of mature trees on the property and infusion of neighborhood character into the design.

  • 512 Littleton was listed for $1.55M and sold for $1.5M in just 55 days
  • 512 Littleton had the highest asking price of any of the 435 single family homes sold west of Glebe between Route 66 and Route 50, since 2014
  • Within that market, the average sale price of a similar new home was $1.255M, meaning 512 Littleton sold for $245,000 more than comparable homes
  • It took an average of 107 days for new homes to sell in 2016, meaning 512 Littleton sold twice as fast as its competition

With so many new homes on lots devoid of trees, there is clearly a demand for a lot with the natural privacy and shade provided by mature trees, even if it means knocking a few hundred square feet from the finished product. Ahmad didn’t set out to build the biggest house he could, rather design a home around the existing footprint and trees, which allowed it to blend more naturally with the neighborhood. In doing so, he delivered what may be the most profitable investment in Arlington in 2016.

I look forward to continuing to explore the relationship of real estate development and the environment more often to encourage responsible development in Arlington. I’d also like to incorporate more video into my columns, although, I don’t think I’ll be leaving real estate for a job in front of the camera any time soon!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — January 3, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: How did Arlington real estate do in 2016?

Answer: Arlington continued its trend of stability and light growth in 2016 with 2,933 total transactions (just 39 more than 2015) and $1.87B in total sales volume (vs $1.85B last year). At an average net sold price (sold price less any seller credits) of $636,839, Arlington saw a price increase of .15%, while maintaining its 2015 market pace, with an average of 49 days on market per sale. The 22207 zip code continued its strong growth in 2016, cracking an average sold price of over $1M for the first time, due to the increasing number of expensive new homes replacing older teardowns.

Top Sales

  • At $3.7M, the most expensive sale of the year goes to a nearly 4,500sqft penthouse-level condo in Turnberry Tower
  • At $3,343,085 the most expensive single family home boasted over 7,000 sq ft in the premier Country Club Hills neighborhood
  • The most expensive sale in south Arlington (south of rt. 50) went to a 7,500 sq ft new home in Addison Heights (across from Crystal City) at $1,625,000

Macro Stats

I’ve charted some macro-level end-of-year stats below. Sold price is the net of the sold price less any seller credits. Days on market measures market pace (under 30 days is consider very fast) and can be seen as a leading indicator of future pricing shifts (lower days = higher demand). “Discount” shows how much homes sell for compared to the original list price (100% means buyer paid full price).

Note that the 22213 zip code has a substantially lower number of transactions (59 total) than any other zip code, so the YoY numbers are more easily influenced by a few outliers. The extreme days on market for 22209 can be attributed to the increasing difficulty of selling units at the River Place Cooperative and the naturally longer sales period for the many luxury condos buildings.

Av Net Sold Price by Zip

2016 Year Over Year Avg Sold Price Change

Avg Days on Market by Zip

Avg Buyer Discount from Original List Price

Arlington has experienced steady, stable growth since 2010, which is something to be happy about while we wrestle with historically high office vacancy rates post-BRAC. As I wrote in November, the upcoming Trump years could provide Arlington a long-awaited bump in growth. Commercial developers and leasing firms remain positive on the long-term outlook for our office market. In 2017, the residential real estate community will keep a close eye on how increasing interest rates will impact buyer demand… and I will continue to keep you updated on our local market!

I hope everybody had a great end to 2016 and is looking forward to a successful 2017. If you or anybody you know has plans to buy, sell, or rent this year, don’t hesitate to give me a call at (703) 539-2529 or email me at [email protected]

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 27, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: I have severe allergies to dogs and cats to the point that I can’t even live next to somebody who has a pet. I’d love to buy a condo, but everything in Arlington seems pet-friendly. Are there any pet-free condos in Arlington?

Answer: It seems that every Arlington resident owns a dog and/or cat and that every condo or apartment building proudly markets its pet-friendliness to attract residents. However, there are a surprising number of condo buildings around the county that offer a safe-haven for those suffering from severe pet allergies. The following is a list of condominiums and cooperatives (co-op) in Arlington that restrict the ownership of dogs and cats:

Condominiums and coops in Arlington that restrict the ownership of dogs and cats

River Place is one of the only co-ops in Arlington and Arlington’s largest housing community. Make sure you understand the differences between living in a condo and co-op before considering a purchase in River Place. You also need to know that River Place is on a 100-year land lease that is set to expire in 2052 and very unlikely to be renewed, so the value of most of these units decreases each year in line with the Net Present Value of the rental income for each unit.

Perched above the Iwo Jima memorial, many of the condos in Prospect House offer the best unobstructed (and well-protected) views into DC. With large balconies and spacious floor plans, you’ll make a lot of friends hosting parties for the Fourth of July fireworks.

While owning a single family home or townhouse in Arlington can be cost-prohibitive, there are a number of affordable, convenient condo/co-op options that offer those suffering from severe pet allergies an opportunity to own in Arlington. I’d be happy to discuss these options in more detail with anybody who’s interested, just give me a call at (703) 539-2529 or shoot me an email!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 20, 2016 at 12:00 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: If I purchase an as-is home to renovate myself, what are the best financing options available to me?

Answer: This is Part 2 of the question I answered last week about buying a home as-is. I asked one of the area’s top lenders, Troy Toureau of McLean Mortgage to provide a detailed response. Troy is a fantastic resource for any of your mortgage questions/needs. The following is his response:

If you want to own a home in Arlington or other areas surrounding the city, there is a lot of competition. The good news is that there are older homes requiring updates that many home buyers ignore, while newer, higher-priced properties often attract multiple offers.

Focusing on the renovation-ready market can expand your choices and perhaps give you access to a better location. The process of renovating can also give you a home that is more custom-tailored to your tastes and needs.

Financing a home that you will renovate is a bit more complex than a standard purchase loan. The good news is that there are several options that will help you achieve your goals of upgrading and/or customizing the house for your needs:

Construction Loans

If your renovations are projected to cost over $100,000, you can opt for a construction-permanent loan, based on the value of the home after the renovations are completed. Here is an example:

  • Purchase Price: $450,000
  • Renovation Budget: $150,000

In this case, your total needs are $600,000 and you can obtain a loan of up to 95% of that amount. You will receive the money at closing for the purchase, and then the remainder of the money in draws paid directly to the construction company as the work is completed. When the work is done, you do not have to finance the home again, as this “one-time-close” construction loan will automatically convert to a permanent loan. Larger down payments will be needed for larger loan amounts. Note that there are additional costs associated with construction loans because the appraisal is more complex and there are costs for periodic inspections and draws.

As an additional option, you can opt for a traditional construction loan and refinance into a permanent loan after the work is complete. While this will result in more costs by adding a refinance transaction, you will have more choices for permanent financing on the back end.

Other Financing Options

For renovations under $100,000, there are two good strategies:

  • If you are planning to put 20% or more down on a $600,000 loan, you can simply reduce your down payment to 10%, or even 5%, conserving your cash for the renovations. Here is an example:
    • $600,000 Purchase Price with 20% Down: $120,000
    • $600,000 Purchase Price with 5% Down: $30,000
    • Available funds for renovations: $90,000
    • In addition, the renovations may give you a higher appraised value to help eliminate the mortgage insurance costs associated with lower down payments.
  • If you do not have the cash assets for a large down payment, you can close on the property and then obtain a second mortgage or home equity line-of-credit (HELOC) after closing. To do this, you’ll need to find a bank that will lend the money based upon the renovated value of the house.

In today’s real estate market, especially in high-demand areas, it pays to explore all of your options. If you would like to discuss some of these options when you are considering purchasing a new home and/or renovating an existing home, feel free to contact me at [email protected] or (301) 440-4261.

Troy Toureau, Vice President of Production, NMLS #5618
www.AnyHomeLoans.com | 11325 Random Hills Road, Suite 400, Fairfax, VA 22030
McLean Mortgage Corporation | NMLS #99665 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org) Equal Housing Lender

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 13, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: What does it mean to buy a home as-is and are there ways to mitigate the buyer’s risks?

Answer: Occasionally sellers offer homes for sale “as-is” and it presents a good opportunity for buyers to purchase below market and earn some sweat equity. These homes tend to be run down, require significant repairs and most owners don’t want to deal with anything other than signing the paperwork to transfer title. Homes may also be offered as-is when the seller doesn’t know anything about the property (e.g. acquired through inheritance).

Last week, I explained that Virginia is a “Buyer Beware” state (Caveat Emptor), which means that sellers do not have to disclose any problems to buyers and the burden of discovery falls strictly on the buyer. As such, selling a property as-is isn’t too different than a regular sale of property in Virginia, but there are a few negotiable differences and while a property can be marketed as-is, it doesn’t mean anything until these changes are explicitly agreed to:

  • There is no requirement to clean or remove debris. The standard is for the property to be free of trash/debris and broom clean.
  • The seller is not responsible for addressing any wood destroying insect/termite issues. The standard agreement requires the seller to pay for this.
  • The seller is not required to fix any Homeowners Association violations on the physical condition of the property.
  • The seller is not responsible for providing working smoke detectors.
  • The seller is not responsible for compliance with notices of violation from local authorities

You should be able to assess the amount of trash/debris and existence of working smoke detectors pretty easily. You can contact Arlington County about any outstanding violations. If you’re buying into an Association, the delivery of a resale package (documents like by-laws and budget) is a non-negotiable requirement and will include any outstanding violations. Wood destroying insect/termite tests are cheap and easy and can be done in conjunction with a pre-inspection or pass/fail inspection (see Mitigating Risks To A Homeowner).

What About Home Inspections?

The list above represents what the Northern VA contract says about as-is sales, but in reality, what most sellers mean when they offer a property as-is is that they intend to deliver the property in its current condition and aren’t interested in fixing anything. I always recommend my clients include a full home inspection contingency in their offer, which allows you to negotiate fixes or seller credits based on the findings of the property’s condition, but don’t expect a seller marketing a home as-is to agree to a full inspection contingency. While investors (teardowns and flips) don’t mind, it puts homeowners in an uncomfortable position.

Mitigating Risks To A Homeowner

  • Select a Contractor: If you’re planning a major renovation, I strongly recommend selecting your contractor ahead of time and asking them to do a walk-thru of the property with you before you make an offer.
  • Pre-Inspection: You can order a full home inspection prior to making an offer. The downside is that you’re paying for an inspection (usually $500-$600 for a single family home) before you’ve signed a contract, but the benefit of being fully informed on the condition of the home is worth it. Make sure you get permission from the seller before ordering a pre-inspection. Pre-inspections are popular in Washington DC right now because of how competitive the market is for buyers, who are often forced to remove the inspection contingency for their offer to be considered.
  • Pass/Fail Inspection: It’s possible to amend the standard inspection addendum to create a pass/fail option by eliminating the right to negotiate based on the property condition. The result is you can inspect the property and make a binary decision – void the contract or move forward with the purchase. This provides you the opportunity to inspect for major problems (e.g foundation issues) and walk away if necessary.
  • Talk To Neighbors: Introduce yourself to a few neighbors and ask them about the home you’re considering purchasing. Neighbors are often aware of major issues with nearby homes or whether the previous owner took care of the property, so don’t be shy.

I’d love to hear from readers about their experiences buying as-is properties and any creative ways you used to mitigate the risks.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 6, 2016 at 12:00 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: What responsibility does a seller have to disclosure problems with their home or the surrounding community?

Answer: Sellers cannot lie about or conceal material defects of their home, but in Virginia, property owners are under no responsibility to disclose them to a buyer. That’s because Virginia is one of the few states in the US still operating under the common law concept of Caveat Emptor, meaning “Let The Buyer Beware.” This places the duty of discovery (of defects) on the homebuyer.

Residential Property Disclosure

The Residential Property Disclosure is required in most transactions with the exception of sales between relatives, foreclosures, builders and a handful of other scenarios. The Disclosure, signed by the seller and buyer, states that the homeowner(s) makes no representations or warranties with respect to things like:

  • Property Condition
  • Sexual Offenders
  • Adjacent Parcels
  • Wastewater Systems
  • Historic Districts

Alternatively, jurisdictions like Washington DC require extensive disclosures by homeowners. The DC Disclosure runs 4+ pages long and requires owners to make representations on every material aspect of the property and community including roof, insulation, heating/cooling, appliances, drainage, zoning and more.

REALTORS Held To A Higher Standard

While Virginia homeowners aren’t required to disclose defects, the REALTOR Code of Ethics holds us to a higher standard. A listing agent who is a REALTOR “shall disclose to prospective buyers/tenants (customers) all material adverse facts pertaining to the physical condition of the property which are actually known by the licensee.” While listing agents don’t have a duty to discover latent defects, they are required to communicate anything they’re made aware of through the standard course of the transaction be it discussions with the seller, inspection of the property or otherwise.

Protecting Yourself

Sellers are well protected by Virginia law and buyers are made to do their homework on every purchase. In most cases, buyers don’t have the luxury of a lengthy discovery period prior to buying a home, so what are some ways buyers can reduce their risk?

  • Hire a great home inspector. A good home inspector is one of the most important relationships your real estate agent should have. While inspectors cannot pry up floorboards and open walls to inspect every bone of a house, a great inspector knows the signs of expensive defects in plumbing, foundation, water intrusion, etc.
  • Talk to your future neighbors. Visit the neighborhood without your agent and knock on some doors if you can’t find any neighbors outside. Start the conversation off with general questions about what it’s like living in the community and gradually move into questions about the home, if there are any noise/traffic issues, etc.
  • Ask direct questions of the seller if there are any red flags. Remember, sellers cannot lie, so if you find a wet spot in the basement, ask if they’ve ever dealt with plumbing issues or water intrusion in the basement.
  • Work with a local expert. We are responsible for disclosing material facts about the purchase beyond the physical home itself, meaning any relevant information about the community that impacts your decision to purchase. It takes a local expert, somebody who follows the community closely, to know if there are any material concerns.

Personally, I’d like to see Virginia make changes to the seller disclosure laws to balance the scales a bit. One could make a case that increasing disclosure requirements would reduce buyer risk, thereby making Virginia homes more valuable and pushing home values up across the board (sellers would still have the ability to offer “As-Is”). As a counter point, buyers in jurisdictions with heavy disclosure requirements can rely too much on what the seller says/does not say and fall victim to a seller simply not being aware of a defect that a buyer could have discovered through due diligence. What do you think? Are you happy with the current system or would you like to see Virginia get rid of Caveat Emptor and place more duty on the seller to disclose material defects?

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — November 29, 2016 at 12:30 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: I’ve been gearing up for a home purchase and wondering if the winter is a good time to buy or if I should hit the pause button until spring. What are your thoughts on buying in the winter?

Answer: I love working with buyers in the winter because the chances of negotiating major savings increases substantially. In Northern Virginia, the winter market generally runs from late November through mid March (Thanksgiving to March Madness) and is defined by deeper discounts, less contract activity and fewer new listings. While many buyers can benefit from winter shopping, it’s not the right time for everybody.

Ask Eli Winter is Coming

Negotiate In The Winter If…

  • You’re a bargain hunter
  • What you like is priced just outside of your budget
  • What you like is fairly easy to find
  • You can accept losing on a few deals

Be Patient If…

  • You have specific, hard-to-find criteria
  • You value the perfect home over a great deal
  • Your purchase is contingent on selling your current home (requires additional conversation)

That’s not to say you can’t negotiate a great deal in the spring or find a unique property in the winter, but if you’re playing the odds, the above is a good set of guidelines for deciding the best seasons to focus on a purchase.

I’ll let you review the trends for yourself:

Chart #1 shows that in the winter buyers pay about 2% less, relative to original asking price, than they do in peak months. On a $500,000 purchase, that’s $10,000 in savings! The numbers along the Y-axis represent the percent of the sold price to the original list price (100% means the buyer paid full price). These numbers do not factor in any seller credits.

Median sale to list price ratio

Chart #2 highlights why buyer leverage increases during the winter. It shows the number of homes that go under contract each month and there’s clearly a lot less activity during the winter, meaning sellers are seeing a lot less showings and offers.

New pendings

Chart #3 shows a significant drop in the number of new listings from November to March, meaning you’re less likely to find the perfect home if you have a difficult set of criteria.

New listings

If you’re on the fence about buying this winter or not sure if you have time to prepare yourself to make a purchase, give me a call at (703) 539-2529 or send me an email at [email protected] to discuss your options and put a strategy in place.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

 

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — November 22, 2016 at 12:00 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Do solar panels improve or hurt the resale value of a home?

Answer: Green living. Green roofs. Green technology. With so much time spent discussing Green initiatives, you would think that investing in solar panels and other eco-friendly home products would put you in a competitive advantage when you sell your home. In my experience, that’s not the case.

Arlington residents overwhelmingly vote and promote Green policies locally and nationally, but I’ve found that when it comes down to the pocketbooks of individual buyers, most are not willing to pay a premium for a home that’s been upgraded with eco-friendly products and landscaping. Businesses, not residents, are usually the ones who take up Green initiatives because there’s a positive return for their brand and larger tax incentives.

Cost Savings vs. Aesthetics

Solar panels are a slightly different story because they can provide real savings with lower utility bills and tax incentives. However, there are two factors that offset those savings in buyers’ minds — aesthetics and maintenance concerns. The current technology is predominately the large panels you’re used to seeing, which isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, especially when so many buyers are spending $1M+. Buyers are also skeptical of future maintenance costs if panels stop working or are damaged in a storm. Also, keep in mind that the pay-off period for the energy savings can take 10+ years.

For proof of the difficulty solar panels have had in the residential market, you don’t have to look much further than Elon Musk’s Solar City, which due to recent financial struggles, was recently acquired by Tesla.

Solar Will Improve Resale…Eventually

The solar industry has started introducing solar roofs, instead of solar panels, which incorporate solar technology into individual shingles so that it looks like a normal roof (it’s supposed to be more durable too). Right now it’s expensive, but as the prices comes down, I expect it will catch on quickly and become a great selling point.

What do you think about the resale value of homes with solar panels? It usually costs $10-15k to add solar panels to a home. If you were buying a home for $1M, would you be willing to pay a premium of $5-10k? Would you make a better offer on a home with solar panels than the same home without panels?

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — November 15, 2016 at 12:15 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: How do you think Trump’s presidency will impact real estate in Arlington/Northern Virginia?

Answer: I’ve never gotten so many questions about the same topic before (shocker…)! Like most of you, I entered election night completely unprepared for the result, so I’ve spent a lot of time getting read up on the impact Trump will have on our real estate market. The following is a summary of my findings sans my personal politics. Chicken Littles beware, I’m an optimist!

The Outlook Is Positive

Most of what I’ve read suggests that the Northern VA real estate market stands to benefit in the short and mid term from Trump, but the long term impact is where the concern lies. Key factors include:

  • Increased Defense Spending: More jobs, more office space and more money for the major Defense employers in the area like DoD, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon should increase demand for housing, particularly in the mid and upper markets.
  • Tax Cuts: The assumed tax cuts should give a number of fringe buyers enough cash to cover a down payment sooner than they expected. I wonder if this will encourage developers to convert large multi-family buildings from rental apartments to condos.
  • Deregulation: Expect major deregulation on banks (Dodd-Frank) and home building to make it easier and cheaper to build new homes, thereby increasing the housing supply, which, in Arlington, is less than half of what economists say it should be in a neutral market. I do expect we’ll see increased demand well before an increase in supply.
  • Markets: After the election-night 5% tumble in futures, domestic markets have responded positively, signaling faith in the economic impact of Trump’s presidency. Strong markets tend to signal strong real estate growth.

Still Too Much Uncertainty

Ken Harney, Real Estate writer for the Washington Post, recently admitted, “It’s still too early to assess [the new reality of the real estate market].” Despite early optimism from many industries, a lot of it comes down to Trump’s design and implementation before we can determine the impact. Here are a few major questions:

  • Foreign Policy: Trump’s foreign policy changes project to be the biggest destabilizing factor of his presidential agenda and poorly executed foreign policy could easily trump (pun intended) any domestic growth. It’s way too early to start guessing how his foreign policy will impact local real estate, but it’s not too early to start hoping he gets it right!
  • Fannie/Freddie: One of the biggest questions facing the residential housing market is how Trump will handle Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, makers of the mortgage industry. Trump has spoken about dissolving these institutions, but hasn’t said much about what would replace them. If he leads a major attack on Fannie and Freddie, look out for drastic changes in access to credit and mortgage rates, for better or worse.
  • Interest Rates: It’s time for us to stop telling consumers where we think mortgage rates are going, especially now that there are so many questions about the economy and turnover on Fed’s Board of Governors. Lynn Fisher, VP of Research and Economics for the Mortgage Bankers Association said interest rates might rise from the current 3.6 percent to 5.4 percent by 2019, but she added, “We’ve been wrong continuously for the last couple of years.”

Remember Where You Live

Arlington (and DC Metro) real estate remains one of the most stable real estate investments during difficult economic climates. We faired well during the Great Recession and Business Week ranks us among the top places to live during a recession. Strong fundamentals including Federal Government/Contractor jobs and valuable infrastructure like the Metro and an industry-leading fiber optic network support the local housing market.

The best advice I can give (mostly stolen from Warren Buffet) is don’t try to time the market, bet on America in the long-term, and make real estate decisions based on the needs of you and your family, not the talking heads on CNBC. Oh, and if you decide to bury gold in your backyard, do it quietly, after midnight and during a New Moon.

Here are some good articles I’ve found that hit on a range of topics that impact the local and national real estate market:

How Trump’s Presidency Could Impact Real Estate

Impact on 15 industries including Real Estate, Defense, and Banking

N.Va. economy, housing market in flux as Trump readies for presidency

Positive Outlook On D.C. Office Market

How President Trump Will Change the U.S. Housing Market

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — November 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: My husband and I own a townhome in a small but popular community.  There is one unit that has been on the market for a few months because it was a rental for many years, is in very bad shape, and frankly, overpriced.  How can the performance (or lack thereof) of this property impact our ability to sell our unit, which is in great condition and move-in ready?  Should we try to sell ours sooner rather than later to avoid a low-end comp in the neighborhood or will other agents understand this is not a true “comp” for our unit?

Answer: This question may seem specific at first, but it applies to many communities in Arlington across all types of housing — condos, townhomes and single family homes — that are similar in size, design, floor plan and value. It’s a fairly common question I get from owners considering a sale and concerned about a problematic listing in their neighborhood.

Assumptions

  • Your home is comparable to the problem home
  • Most/All of the homes in your neighborhood are comparable
  • It’s clear the other home isn’t in great condition when you look at the pictures online and when you see it in person
  • Your home is clearly a notch above, will show better, and will photograph better than the problem home
  • There are not any other similar listings in your neighborhood

List Soon For Higher Sale Price

Chances are that interested buyers will look at both homes and your neighbor’s poorly maintained home will make yours look even better (increased relative value). You can use your neighbor’s overpriced home to your advantage by pricing yours slightly above market value and leveraging the fact that your home is a bargain compared to the neighborhood competition. So by listing now, while the other property is on the market, you have an opportunity to command an above market sale price.

Impact Of A Bad Comp

Your question about the impact a lower comp can have (if you decide to wait) is relevant, but the impact will be limited as long as it’s clear in the listing photos and sales data (high days on market) that there’s a significant difference between the homes. As long as there are some other sales in the neighborhood of homes more representative of yours, I wouldn’t worry too much about it from a sales standpoint.

One area that the impact could be felt is on the appraisal. If the problem home sells for significantly below the market value for homes in your neighborhood and is one of the only sales in the last 6 months, most appraisers will factor this into their assessment. Any time a home is purchased with financing, the bank requires an appraised value at or above the sale price, and low appraisals can cause problems. However, a good listing agent understands how to manage the appraisal process and help guide the assessed value in the right direction, which should be fairly simple in your case.

What’s the takeaway here? In many cases, it can work in your favor to list your home in direct competition to a similar, but worse home in your neighborhood because it improves the relative value of your home. One scenario I recommend being careful of is competing against a poorly maintained home that is priced significantly under market value because buyers might get estimates from a contractor on the cost of updating the cheap home and end up making your home look overpriced, even if it’s not.

Have a question about local real estate? Don’t be shy! Send me an email at [email protected] or tweet me @EliJTucker with your question and I’ll answer it in a future column.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — November 1, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

Question: Why do I see different counts for the number of days a property has been listed for sale depending on the website I visit? What are the rules around agents resetting days on market?

Answer: Days on market is one of the most important data points when determining an appropriate offer:

  • The longer a property has been on the market, the more likely a seller is to accept a reduced sale price
  • Higher days on market = more leverage for buyers
  • Sellers are most likely to fight for full asking price during the first couple of weeks
  • You’re most likely to encounter multiple offers in the first week

The chart below shows the average sale price to original list price ratio based on the number of days a property has been on the market (100.00 = sold for full ask). On average, a property that sells in the first 10 days goes for above the asking price and after 30 days, the average seller takes a 4% reduction from the original asking price.

Ask Eli Nov 1 2016 Table

Days On Market – Property (DOMP)

DOMP is the number you want to focus on because it’s the number of days a property (based on the address) has been actively marketed for sale and it’s difficult to reset this number (see Resetting DOMP section).

Days On Market – MLS (DOMM)

DOMM is the number of days a listing has been actively marketed for sale. A listing is the individual record created by an agent to market a property for sale. It’s easy (and legal) for agents to reset this number as many times as they’d like by re-listing a property for sale. MRIS (see last week’s article for definition) makes it pretty easy for agents to do this and it’s common to see this action taken after a large price reduction because it gives the new listing more visibility to the public by, for example, popping back up in buyer’s automated searches as a new listing.

Resetting DOMP

The only way to reset DOMP is to withdraw a property from the market for 90+ days. This is an MRIS rule and may be different in other markets outside of the MRIS coverage area (VA, DC, MD, and parts of WV, PA, and DE). It’s somewhat common for a seller who’s not in a rush to remove an unsold listing from the market before the winter and allow the DOMP count to reset prior to re-listing in the spring.

How Do You Know?

Be careful, most public-facing websites use DOMM because they track the number of days the listing, not the property, has been on the market. Most good real estate search websites offer a “property history” section where you can view previous sales, when it’s been listed, taken off market or had a price reduction. MRIS has data fields specifically for DOMM and DOMP so your agent can easily provide this information and if you receive listing information from your agent directly from MRIS, those data fields are easily viewable.

Understanding the impact days on market has on final sale price is critical for buyers and sellers to maximize their value. The impact varies by locality and by the type of housing, so it’s important to also understand your market.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — October 25, 2016 at 12:30 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Can you explain what an MLS and MRIS are and how they relate to home sales?

Answer: I got this question from a few people after last week’s article about the type of data available to agent’s, that’s not available on consumer-facing sites. Over the years, I’ve found that a lot of people are familiar with the terms MLS and MRIS, but not quite sure how it ties into the real estate sales process. The following explanation is 100% my own, in an attempt to simplify it for ease of understanding.

What is a MLS (Multiple Listing Service)?

An MLS is a real estate information exchange platform and database created by cooperating residential real estate brokerages to improve the efficiency of their real estate market. As a privately created and managed organization, each MLS is primarily funded through the dues of the brokerages and agents within the market it serves. There are hundreds of MLS’s across the country and each operates under its own direction and rules & regulations. The information you find on consumer-facing websites like Zillow, Realtor.com and Homesnap comes from various MLS’s and each MLS has the right to negotiate its own relationship (syndication agreements) with these sites and determine what information is made available. I recall reading something last year about an MLS in Pennsylvania that was considering blocking 100% of their data from Zillow.

What is the MRIS (Metropolitan Regional Information Systems)?

MRIS is the MLS that serves our region including Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland and parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware. It is one of the largest MLS’s in the country by size and geographic area and supports nearly $125B in annual real estate sales. Having an MLS that services such a large area provides substantial value to the consumer because it allows sellers, who work with an agent, access to a wide audience and ensures that buyers searching online will see the same homes for sale, regardless of which website they’re on.

The Executive Committee and Board of Directors is made up of representatives from the region’s major brokerages and directs the business of MRIS, which has developed into a full-blown software, services and technology company consisting of familiar roles such as Director of Marketing, Director of Customer Support and Chief Operating Officer. MRIS leadership has adopted a strict set of rules & regulations to provide data uniformity and ensure fair play.

The primary interaction agents have with MRIS is through the online portal to enter their listings (homes for sale) and search for homes for sale on behalf of buyer clients. Agents can send listing information directly to clients via MRIS, but some brokerages and 3rd party vendors have built slick programs that interface with MRIS and allow for a better agent-to-client interface using MRIS data. MRIS is a one-stop-shop for agents in our area to find nearly 100% of homes for sale, coming soon to the market and past sales.

Without MRIS, our real estate market would be fragmented and inefficient for consumers, agents and industry partners, so overall it provides a huge benefit to the regional real estate market. However, like most industry-focused companies built before the latest technology revolution, it lags in customer experience and user interface design, which are areas MRIS is working on to provide both agents and consumers a better end-to-end experience.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — October 18, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

Question: I’m looking for a 1-bedroom condo with a den, but can’t find a site like Zillow or Realtor.com that allows me to search for it. Do you know of a site that includes den in the search?

Answer: The MRIS — a realtor database of records that feeds to all of the consumer-facing websites — includes a ton of data that doesn’t show up in consumer-facing websites, but for some crazy reason it doesn’t include a data field for dens, a very common criteria in Arlington. The only way to search for a den is to search the remarks field for the word “den” which isn’t a perfect solution and ineffective on a lot of consumer-facing sites.

Common criteria available to agents in MRIS, not on (most) consumer sites:

  • Balcony/terrace
  • Fenced yard/privacy fence
  • Number of levels/floors
  • Location and number of bedrooms and bathrooms by level/floor
  • Type of parking (garage, off-street, assigned, carport, etc)
  • Type of flooring (hardwood, carpet, laminate) by room
  • Number of fireplaces
  • Washer/dryer in unit
  • *Above grade sqft, below grade finished/unfinished sqft
  • New construction
  • Walk-in closet
  • En-suite (attached) master bathroom
  • Home type (rambler, craftsman, cape code, etc)
  • Level/floor location of apartment (1st floor, penthouse, basement, floor 6-10, etc)
  • Energy efficient features

*Every website allows you to search by square footage, but be very careful. I frequently come across listings with incorrect square footage or no square footage entered at all. Be prepared to miss some good homes if you’re filtering by square footage.

The introduction of real estate search sites like Zillow has given the consumer access to real estate information that was previously unavailable, but there are still a lot of common search criteria these sites don’t offer that an agent with MRIS access can search for. A recent example I have is a couple that needs a one level home with two master suites. Without an agent, they’d have to search through almost every single home within their budget, trying to figure out from the pictures and descriptions if they are one level and if they also have two master suites, but with MRIS, I can quickly search on their criteria, saving them a lot of time online.

Do you have any specific criteria (e.g. pet-free buildings) that you haven’t been able to search for yourself? Shoot me an email and I’ll set-up a search for you!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — October 11, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Should I accept an offer on my home that is contingent on the buyer selling his home first?

Answer: While there are financing options and other strategies to help buyers avoid home sale contingencies, they’re oftentimes necessary to close a deal. Before you accept an offer that includes a home sale contingency, you should consider the following factors:

Which Home Sale Contingency?

1) Sale of Buyer’s Property with Kick-Out:

This is used when a buyer’s property does not have a pending contract and can be used even if the property isn’t yet listed for sale. It includes a deadline for the buyer to go under contract, terms of the listing (when it will be listed and for how much), and most importantly, it allows you to “kick-out” the buyer, with notice, to accept another offer or put the home back on the market as Active. This is a high-risk contingency for sellers.

2) Settlement of Buyer’s Property (no kick-out):

This is used when the buyer’s home is under contract and pending settlement. Depending on the terms of the contract on the buyer’s home, this can be a fairly low risk contingency for sellers.

Kick-Out Clause

If contingency #1 above is used, you have the ability to continue marketing your home for sale and accept back-up offers from other buyers. If you receive a better offer, you can “kick-out” the current buyer unless they can provide proof of a ratified contract on their home or proof they can purchase the home without first selling their home. You will negotiate the number of days the buyer has to meet one of these requirements, once you’ve given notice, so it’s in your best interest to keep the number as low as possible.

Review All Relevant Data

If contingency #1 above is used, you and your agent should conduct a full market analysis of the home the buyer is trying to sell to determine the likelihood that it sells in a timely manner at the price it’s being offer for. If you learn the home is in a market with average days on market of 100+ days and the buyer is offering it at a price above market value, you have a bad offer.

If contingency #2 above is used, you’ll want to review the terms of the ratified contract your buyer has to determine what contingencies still exist. If all contingencies have expired and a substantial Earnest Money Deposit has been made, you can proceed with confidence. However, I’ve seen offers made where the buyer’s ratified contract includes a home sale contingency itself for the buyer of that property, meaning my client had to rely on two homes to sell before his home could sell…bad offer.

Days On Market

You should also assess where you are in your sale cycle. If you’re in the first 30 days of your listing, you should hold out for strong offers and avoid a risky home sale contingency. Just like you wouldn’t normally accept a deep reduction from the asking price in the first 30 days, you should also push for strong supporting terms.

Other Terms

If you’re considering accepting an offer that includes a home sale contingency, work hard to negotiate favorable terms elsewhere, especially price. You deserve to be compensated for the additional risk a home sale contingency presents.

Before accepting an offer with a home sale contingency, you and your agent should work with the buyer and buyer’s agent to explore strategies that allow the buyer to qualify for the purchase without first selling their home. Often, it’s more feasible than buyers realize.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at http://www.RealtyDCMetro.com.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — October 4, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

Ask Eli banner

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: I’m wondering statistically what the best months are to advertise a property for rental. On my own I can figure out it’s probably not the dead of winter, but was wondering the answer from a professionals data driven point of view.

Answer: The best way to measure this is to look at how long a home is on the market and how close the final rent price is to the asking price. Since 2010, the data shows that the best time to list your home for rent in Arlington is from March – June, with June listings moving the fastest and May listings commanding rents closest to the ask price. Homes listed for rent in November spend the most days on the market, taking an average of 25 more days to rent than homes listed in June. Somewhat surprisingly, landlords who list in September cut rents more than any other month, compared to the asking price. My guess is that it’s due to owners offering a higher original price because it’s still summer, but missing out on the spring/early summer rental demand.

Best Months For Landlords To List: March – June

Worst Months for Landlords to List: October – January

The data was pretty consistent across different housing types (detached/single family, townhome, and apartment) and by zip code. Check out each table below for some specifics on your home type and zip.

The Data

The data below represents all 12,256 rental transactions recorded in MRIS (Realtor database of record) in Arlington since Jan 1, 2010. The data is organized by the month they were listed for rent.

There are three data sets presented. The first is all rentals by month, the second is by housing type (detached/single family, townhome, apartment) and month, and the third is by zip code and month, presented in two separate graphs because the table was too long (email me if you’d like to see the data table).

Table #1: Rentals By Month

Ask Eli chart

(more…)

×

Subscribe to our mailing list